Traveling Cross Country, Interrupted – Still Learning Lessons


Sedona View on High © 2014 Bo Mackison

I’ve been riding shot gun with tow truck drivers lately – one taciturn,
one surly, and one with more problems than I could keep track of.

So I’m not expecting much when the current tow truck driver
readies my car-in-need-of-serious-help for a tow from Sedona to Flagstaff.

He surprises me when he opens the door for me, and gives me
a steadying hand as I navigate the metal steps into the cab.


We admire the Sedona scenery on our way out-of-town.

He says “tough luck” on hearing my recent history with car repairs, and means it,
and I respond with acceptance – no choice there – and comments about lemonade.
Then mentions the people he tows who do nothing but curse and complain.

“What the whole world needs now is kindness. Kindness is the key,” he says.

I nod. Angels come in all shapes and sizes, and occupations, I’m thinking.

View from A Tow Truck

After four hours of diagnostics, both the mechanic
and the service department manager shake their heads, and frown. Deeply.

The news about the car is not the kind one wants to hear 300 miles
into a 2000 mile trip across half the country.

“It’s a head gasket.”
They might as well tell me the car’s developed an allergy to road dust.

“Big job. Should be ready by next Monday at closing time,” says the service tech.
But today is Monday.

“See, I gotta take the engine apart and then put it back together. Takes me five full days.”
Simple explanations. I get it.

Then the good news. “It’s covered by warranty. So is the loaner. Unlimited mileage”

I may not be an auto aficionado, but I can learn Basic Auto 101.

“You need my car for a week, but I get a replacement…and I can drive anywhere?”

“Yes.” He nods. Then frowns slowly. “But not all the way to Wisconsin…”

“Right. Not to Wisconsin…”

I can embrace crankiness
or I can do a quick re-frame and consider the possibilities.

The possibilities win out.

After I send out a request on Facebook, I immediately get a dozen recommendations
on places to visit in or near Flagstaff. A car breakdown becomes a magical gift.

OK. Confession time. I am a phone-phobic.
If I can talk someone else into making a phone call for me, I will. Except,
I am alone in this predicament.

Time to grow into this independence and self-sufficiency even more, Bo. Sigh!

I figure out a schedule, calculate distances,
then spend several hours tracking down available hotel rooms and rates.

The angels once more do their work,
and in a synchronous social media moment,
two friends independently suggest a meet up with the same person,
a photographer who just happens to be a park ranger up the road.
When consulted, she agrees to a meet up.

Lemonade. Perhaps she likes lemonade, too.

(To be continued…don’t want to ruin any surprises.)

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    Good luck with this adventure. 🙂

  2. Oh, Bo! What a delicious adventure you’ve gotten yourself into!!

  3. Sounds like an adventure you didn’t plan but are making the most of!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Not what I planned at all, I should be pulling onto my driveway tomorrow. And that’s not going to happen. So I am embracing adventure. And reminding myself it will all be OK…soon.

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